Since she was a young girl, Kath Metherall loved animals, especially horses. She remembers feeding the horses of the baker and the butcher as they came around with their deliveries when she was just two years old.
Of course the Royal Melbourne Show was the highlight of Kath’s year, getting to go and see so many animals in one place. From the first time she attended at just five years old, Kath knew she wanted to ride in the Grand Parade. It took a long time for her dream to become a reality though, because Kath didn’t own any horses growing up. She remembers one early visit to the Show:
As a six-year-old, standing beside my mother in the Clydesdale pavilion where they had the horse sales: "Mummy, why can't we buy that one?" "Dear, where would you put it?" "It could go in Dad's garage instead of the car." That's how it started, and I did that every year. I didn't think I'd ever get to ride there.
It wasn’t until she was 14 that Kath was able to ride at the Royal Melbourne Show. She came home with two red ribbons and proudly showed her father, who reminded her that winning was nice, but the most important thing was to have fun. ‘That stood by me for my whole showing life, and the most important thing I've got out of showing was friends and fun.’
Kath continued to have a lifelong connection to the Show, competing in horse competitions including winning the coveted Garryowen Trophy twice, as well as showing sheep and cattle. She became a judge for the Garryowen – a consequence of winning, she jokes – ‘people who have won are expected to know when they’re judging what’s wrong and what’s right’. Known for always being around during show time, Kath helped out whenever and wherever she was needed and helped to make the Show such a memorable experience for everyone who attended. Looking back, she notes that ‘it was my life – I loved every minute of it, and I’m very lucky to have had a lifetime at it, I really am’.